ette. "Our camels sniff the evening and are glad/'
quoted he. ... A large fissure had appeared in the
earth wall behind us; exactly between us the nose-
cap of the shell protruded. Velmore, who had a talent
for picturesque phrases, named the crack in the wall
"the grin of death". I still consider it queer that only
the dudness of that 5.9 preserved us from becoming
the debris of a direct hit.
Consulting my watch, I found that it w^s time for
me to be taking out my conducted tours in no-man's-
land. (I took them out, two at a time, for twenty-
minute crawls, and the "patrol proper" went out at
12.30.) "I think I'll come up with you," remarked
Velmore. "It can't be more dangerous in the Front
Line than it is here."
On the following night at much the same time we
were squatting in exactly the same place, munching
chocolate. We were agreeing that the company was
getting through its first dose of the line extremely well.
They were a fine steady lot, and had worked hard at
strengthening the posts and deepening the shallow
connecting trench. We had also improved the wire.
Best of all, we should be relieved the next night. "And
not a single casualty so far," said Velmore. I didn't
touch wood, but as to-morrow was the thirteenth I
produced my fire-opal and touched that. "Aren't
opals supposed to be unlucky?" he enquired dubi-
ously, shutting one eye while he admired the ever-
lasting sunset glories of the jewel. "Mine isn't," I
replied adding that I intended to give it another test
that night. "I'm going to do a really good patrol," I
announced, Velmore looked worried and said he